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How are we students supposed to make ends meet?

Blog — 28.3.2024

April is getting closer; the sun is shining over the student city. April is getting closer; the birds sing louder and the electric kickboards are flying faster by. April is getting closer and so is the reduction of the housing allowance.  

The economic situation for students is becoming tougher when Orpo’s government has taken the decision to cut down Finland’s budget. The decision the government made, will have a big impact on the students’ economy. According to statistics published by the National Union Of University Students in Finland (SYL), an average student will have €76 less money after the cut. At the same time, the government wants to see more people graduate at a faster pace. The students of today are already in a difficult position economically. Rents that have risen, student allowances that have not been index adjusted and electricity prices that have flung around. How are the students going to make ends meet? More loans? Part-time jobs? Full-time jobs? 

The fact is that not everyone can work at the same time as you’re studying. I for example have during my years as a student had such courses that have required so much time and effort, that a big part of my free time have been sacrificed for schoolwork. There is no chance that I’d been working at the same time. Now however, I and many other students might have to rethink. Finding a job is not that easy as well. I would then also have to slow down the pace.  

Not only does this change bring economic difficulties, but also mental difficulties. The pandemic’s been “over” for a while and people have been allowed to meet each other freely during a few years already, but that doesn’t have to mean people are feeling well again. Our big neighbor in the east has been warmongering for a few years and the queues to mental health services haven’t become shorter. What’s going to happen now that students aren’t doing that well mentally and at the same time, we’re given less money? What do you do when you don’t have enough money to pay rent, food, and other necessities? More loans again? 

The state puts the burden on students to balance the state budget. Instead of giving students higher housing allowance and student aid, students might soon have to strongly consider taking the student loan which was formerly called the “free loan”. Many of the people graduating will struggle paying off the now elevated debt as well as the incredibly high interest rates.  

All this can in the long run lead to the government fighting against their own program. How are you supposed to graduate fast from uni if you are working while studying?  

So dear government, cut somewhere else, you’ll otherwise have people sleeping on streets. Dear fellow students, take care of each other and count every penny. 

Oscar Björkell

Member of the Board, Social Policy

The Student Union of Åbo Akademi University